Series Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers
By Joseph Jacquez
After losing two of three in San Francisco, the Arizona Diamondbacks face the Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time this season
The Arizona Diamondbacks were not the same offense against the Giants at AT&T Park. Moving from hitter-friendly Chase Field to a pitchers park likely was a factor, but clutch hitting all but disappeared.
Coming into their first road series of the season, the Diamondbacks were hitting .313 as a team with 48 runs scored. But, they hit just .210 as a group against Giants pitching and scored seven runs in three games.
Now, they face lefty Clayton Kershaw, one of the dominating pitchers in the game, in the opener of a four game, weekend set at Dodger Stadium. Coming into play Friday night, the Diamondbacks remain in first place atop the National League West Division and only one-half game ahead of the Colorado Rockies. The Rox open a weekend series in San Francisco against the Giants.
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For now, the Diamondbacks hold a plus 13 in run differential. That’s good enough for third in the National League and fifth in the majors. The surprising Cincinnati Reds hold the best mark in the majors with a plus 21. They are followed by the Minnesota Twins, at plus 20 and the Dodgers at plus 13.
If the Diamodnabcks have their work cut out against Kershaw, the Dodgers face an improved Zack Grienke. After a marginal 13-7 season a year ago, Greinke has performed much better in his initial two starts of the season. With a victory and a no-decision thus far, Greinke enters this marquee match-up with a very respectable 2.31 ERA. Compare that to his 4.37 ERA (26 starts) of last season and Greinke appears off to a productive start.
After a hot first week, the Diamondbacks bat cooled during the recent Giants’ series. Coming into their Friday match-up with Kershaw, the Diamondbacks are hitting .283 as a team. They are far and away the best hitting club on average in the National League. The Mets are second and hitting. 234 as a club.
The Diamondbacks also top the NL in runs scored. In their 10 games to date, Arizona scored 98 and the Mets are second with 53.
The series at Dodger Stadium continues with night games on Saturday and Monday, and an afternoon contest this Sunday. The current trip concludes with a three-game set with the Padres in San Diego.
"Arizona Diamondbacks: Should Ray try for a complete game?"
The Diamondbacks then return to Chase Field on April 21 for a 10-game home stand against the Dodgers, Padres and Rockies.